What Are the Top Leadership Skills that Make a Great Leader

Leadership Skills

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to being a great anything, especially a leader. A leader needs to have a wide variety of leadership skills and competencies to be truly great. It’s all about building a presence for others to want to listen to a leader and to follow them wherever it may lead. 

A lot of lists out there are repeating similar items, so it’s important to look at the core types of leadership skills that truly make a great leader. It generally leads to having an exemplary set of soft skills that are gained through experience. 

Excellent communication skills

This is at the core of leadership skills. Active listening, empathy and effective communication are key for a great leader. Without being able to hear what their team’s needs are, or without being able to explicitly state what the vision and mission of the company is, then there is little chance of success. 

A great leader needs to be able to clearly convey the overall message of a company and to be able to have it understood by all the employees he or she speaks with. 

Communication goes both ways, and it’s imperative, as an active listener, that the leader is able to gauge the overall situation and general feeling of the employees of a company. Is the employee base motivated? Is there a specific need they are all requesting? Are all departments aligned and ready to operate on all fronts? 

That’s why it’s not just about making those types of speeches about what the annual financial forecasts will be, but also remember to reply to points of feedback that they’re presented with. This helps to show everyone that their leader has a vested interest in not only the financial health of a company but the emotional wellbeing of its workforce. 

Ability To Have Foresight

Another area where a leader excels is with strategic thinking. A great leader needs to be able to not only have excellent project management skills but also to know what happens when plans fall apart. 

Time Management is essential, with all the various moving parts that are happening when one is in a position of leadership. Being placed in this position means having multiple streamlines to deal with while having to provide enough time resources and balancing the energy of the workforce. This is critical so that nothing falls by the wayside. 

Having an overall strategic overview of the tasks ahead, and having multiple backup plans ready at a moments notice is what helps a leader be truly successful. Strategic thinking embodies that. Combine this with adaptability and your leadership will get you through those tough times, without any doubts along the way. 

A great leader wants to not only prepare for the worst, but to prepare for any possible outcome, and have the necessary knowledge to make the right decision at that time. 

This leads to decisiveness. Another one of the most powerful skills a leader can have. Being a leader is all about making numerous decisions. Each one of those decisions leads to the next set of decisions. It’s important to keep the engine running and to make those plans of action and stick by them. A leader who is indecisive will only stall the process and pile up the issues and problems that come one’s way. 

Gain consensus

Being naturally charismatic helps those who want to be a leader. Combining that with the ability to build cohesion and consensus makes someone a great leader. Without having the team or employees fully accepting and getting behind the mission and vision of a company, there’s no motivation. Without any motivation, you will have production, but it won’t be efficient in any way. Gaining that motivation and having everyone be a team player and feel vested, is what a leader does best. 

Whether it’s through incentives, or through effective communication and transparency, good leaders must be also authentic in their message. Otherwise, if there’s ever a feeling where the authenticity isn’t real or it’s perceived to be fake, that could have a damaging and cascading effect on overall motivation. 

This happens because all of this consensus management is about building trust with your teams. If a leader ever appears to go back on their word, incentive plan, their transparency, or another type of motivational tool, then the trust is broken. 

A leader needs to be building trust with every single skill along the way. It’s a slow and long process, as there are people who are dependent on a good leader to get them to be successful. Without that trust being built alongside everything else, or even worse, it being broken time and time again, it gets more difficult to get the most out of employees. 

Recruit the best

Many tasks rely on leaders and recruitment is one of them. The best leaders will always have the confidence to hire someone much more skilled than they are, especially when it comes to harder skill sets. 

Those leaders that end up hiring people that are weaker than them, will have no one to take over the reins of leadership or to help companies grow. CEOs want to hire the best team to make the company successful, not to hire people that they can belittle and control because of their lack of skills.

A great leader will always strive to find the best available people for the role, and never lack the confidence to state the employee is better than the leader. It’s commonly misunderstood that a leader needs to be the best at everything. That’s not true at all. A leader needs to be able to recognize what is working well and what needs improvement and hire accordingly. Their job is to see the company succeed, through the success of its employee base. 

With the recruitment of the best, it’s also imperative to empower this workforce, both the new and old. The more a leader delegates to the right minded people, the smoother the company organism will run. 

Otherwise, a leader will have to start micromanagement and have to make every decision necessary, no matter how trivial or mundane it may appear to be. Without selecting the right mix of those to be empowered, a leader will quickly face decision fatigue and a workforce who won’t ever be able to take ownership of their day-to-day. 

Don’t forget

As one can see, numerous skills and balances are needed to be a modern day leader. Only having one or two of the skills mentioned above will not be enough, as it requires a holistic approach to the management of the employee and the management of what the company needs are as well. 

A leader needs to always be learning and growing themselves to keep pace with the ever changing corporate climates, especially with how fast some items, such as technological advancement, keep shifting how one works. 

Also remember that even the best leaders are still human and that it’s more important to learn from every mistake, and how to adapt to not repeat them in the near future, as well as remembering and celebrating the successes. 

Previos Article

We all crave human connection, a simple equation to transform your productivity, lets’s stop all these meetings and more.

Next Article

One person can change an organisation, bad meetings create our overload, the secret of highly productive leaders and more.

How Can I Help You?

I work with ambitious leaders to help them grow faster and shape their future. Are you ready to unlock your potential and grow faster?

Subscribe to The Curiosity Catalyst for the latest strategies, trends and expert insights to help you unlock your potential and grow faster.

© 2024 Kevin McDonnell. All Rights Reserved. All third party trademarks (including logos and icons) remain the property of their respective owners.

Join 13,200+ people who are unlocking their potential and growing faster.

Every Friday morning you’ll receive the latest leadership strategies, trends and expert insights to help you unlock your potential and grow faster.

© 2024 Kevin McDonnell. All Rights Reserved. All third-party trademarks (including logos and icons) remain the property of their respective owners.

- Not Just a Newsletter

Join my community of 13,200 + business leaders learning how to build great businesses